In The Kingdom Of The Dead.

There came a dark morning when the sun’s golden rays,

Embraced by Nephele, dripped through her gauze to stain

Our hard faces with ghostly shades of blues and grays.

Our craft is beached upon a barren spit. Light rain

Greets our steps ashore, a sign from the Hyades,

At Poseidon’s behest, that while we trod the sand,

His wrath grimly awaits our return to his seas.

Twin-headed Xoponettum marks a patch of land.

Actamemnon draws his cold blade and carves a trench,

The length of Bellegeron’s corked bat, and thrice

Its width. He pours out sacred elixirs; they drench

The thirsty earth. Firstly he sprinkles, cold as ice,

The Burning River and the Commodore Perry.

Then he squeezes out, from their many-colored tubes,

The spiced and zesty condiments of every

Kind, and Mustardum Bertmanus (favored by Koobs).

Then Actamemnon, holding his blade heavenward,

Cries to Aetos Dios, Zeus’s messenger bird.

“Take in your talons these words I shall now utter,

To the Gods and goddesses: swift, do not flutter!

To Hebe, Zeus and Hera’s own, who guards fleet youth:

Favor us with a Jurixion, though uncouth

And raw: For his power and speed can steer our raft

Across the Styx. Attend to us in this year’s draft!

To Kratos, vengeful master of strength and might:

Send out your strongest men to our fields left and right!

To the Moirai, fateful trio of Zeus’s daggers,

Send us five javelin-hurling Meleagers!”

Slow and shaking, four sacrificial lambs are led

To trench’s lip: Lovus, Daemonos, Duncanum,

And Xocellopus. “A Mirabilis Annum,”

Cries Actamemnon, “Accrues to us, when blood’s shed!”

The deed is done. As dark blood puddles in the cut,

Frightful Erebus disgorges her long-held hordes,

Who swarm the shaken men of Cleave. Kypnos shouts, “What

Phantom grabs my sleeve? A shoeless Jodysseus,

A speechless form, seeks to drag me to his Hades.

There is Troskilles, fairly stunned and ossified.

And here, Gradymede, surrounded by his ladies!”

Lajoieus rises, leader of these men who’ve died.

He kneels and drinks deeply of the darkened red brew.

“Actamemnon: Now I’ve drunk the draught of the slain,

And can now reveal the fate of you and your crew.

The Gods do decree that blood will soak the terrain.

You alone can survive, but to do so you must

Abandon the ocean. Climb away, to the heights,

Where no one knows of the Wahum mascot. There, thrust

Your sword in the earth. Then rest you for fourteen nights.

A traveller will then appear, of fearsome mein:

Silver locked, carrying thunderbolts which he casts

About, heedless of their targets, hurled with disdain

For groveling mortals, those Olympus outcasts.”

Lajoieus continues. “Don’t shrink from this hero!

He dines with the Gods themselves. Attach you to him,

And watch as he spreads his power—not for zero

Drachma, but for ten, will he brighten up the dim

Hopes of rustic lads by scribing, on proffered scroll:

‘107.9 MPH. Rapidus

Robertus.’ Distributed thus, peon and prole

All supplicate themselves to him. They cry ‘Lead us,

Master Robertus, to a place of great glory!’

Where he doth head, follow along. End of story!”

Lajoieus retreats into the gloom. All the shades

Of Erebus, unshackled from his restraining,

Advance again upon Actamemnon’s men. Blades

Unsheathed, they hack at air til their powers, waning,

Fully cease. “It is by Colavitus’s Curse,”

Cries Xaponettum, “that this season has been lost.

What had started so well has gone from bad to worse.”

The men reboard their craft, to ride waves tempest tossed.

Deep below, wreathed in reedy brown weeds woven by his attendant Nereids,

Poseidon stirs and rises toward the sun, his hatred for Cleave unquenched and unabated.

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